Posting Policy for Public Comments
The Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) welcomes public comments through a variety of avenues, including the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee and the Chief FOIA Officers Council If you wish to submit public comments regarding ideas to improve the FOIA process, your best venue is the OGIS Annual Open Meeting. The Committee and the Council also welcome public comments that focus on the specific topics they are considering.
The following policies apply to all public comments. Your comments are welcome at any time. We will review written comments and letters and, as appropriate, share them with Committee or Council members. We will use our discretion regarding whether to post them to the Committee or the Council website.
- If OGIS determines that comments will be posted, we will post them with attachments and other supporting materials to the appropriate website without edits or redactions. This means that any business or personal information included in the correspondence such as names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers will be visible to the public. Submit only information that you wish to make available publicly.
- To foster an open dialogue, we request that commenters sign their correspondence with their real names. However, we will accept and post comments that are anonymous or submitted under an Internet handle if the comments comply with the posting policies described on this webpage.
- Comments submitted to the Committee or Council should pertain to the work of that entity. OGIS will not post comments that
- are clearly off-topic;
- promote services or products;
- contain abusive, vulgar, offensive, threatening, or harassing language;
- are personal attacks of any kind;
- use offensive terms that target specific individuals or groups;
- are requests for OGIS assistance with individual requests or issues; requests for or concerns about specific FOIA requests and issues should be addressed to email@example.com; or
- contain gratuitous links to products, services, or entities to sites are viewed as spam.
- OGIS reserves the right not to post comments that do not adhere to these standards.
- OGIS will respond to comments at its discretion. There is no requirement that written comments or responses be posted online.
- We encourage all commenters to submit their comments in formats compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. §794d).
- Generally, we will post the public comments as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). In creating HTML documents, we follow the accessibility requirements and standards of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, (29 U.S.C. §794d).; for example, we include alternate text to describe graphics.
For comments submitted via email:
- The subject line of your message should include the words "Public Comments."
- If you attach a document to your email, please indicate the format or software used (e.g., PDF, Word Perfect, MS Word, ASCII text, etc.) to create the attachment.
Recommendations for Submitting Effective Comments
- If OGIS, the Committee or the Council calls for comments on a specific document (such as a draft report or recommendation), please read the document in its entirety before submitting your comments. If you identify a concern with the document on which you are commenting, consider suggesting alternative language.
- Comments that clearly identify and describe issue(s) are most useful to OGIS, the Committee or the Council.
- Data and/or anecdotes drawn from your experience can help OGIS, the Committee or the Council understand your position on an issue. Wherever possible, include citations or links to relevant studies, articles, reports, or legal authorities that support your points.
- Consider the pros and cons of your position and explain them. Consider the views and suggestions of others, and respond to them with facts and reasons.
- If you respond to the comments of others, identify the relevant comments in your response.
- If you have credentials or experience that give you expertise in the topic on which you are commenting, explain what they are. If you are commenting on behalf of an organization, explain the nature and mission of your organization and your relationship vis-a-vis that organization.
We cannot respond to every comment individually. At our discretion, we may respond to the public comments we receive.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
We offer the following table to guide you in submitting public comments. When submitting public comments, we request that you indicate the intended venue.
|Venue:||OGIS Annual Open Meeting||FOIA Advisory Committee||Chief FOIA Officers Council|
|Purpose:||To present on the “review and reports” by OGIS. 5 U.S.C. § 552(h)(6)||To study the federal FOIA landscape and recommend to the Archivist of the United States improvements to the administration of FOIA.||To develop recommendations for increasing FOIA compliance and efficiency; disseminate information about agency experiences, ideas, best practices, and innovative approaches to FOIA; Identify, develop, and coordinate initiatives to increase transparency and compliance with FOIA; and promote the development and use of common performance measures for agency compliance with this section. (5 U.S.C. § 552(k)(5)(A))|
|Membership:||Not Applicable||No more than 20 individuals, including FOIA professionals from federal agencies and non-governmental members, appointed by the Archivist of the United States for two-year terms in accordance with the charter of the FOIA Advisory Committee||The Directors of OGIS and the Office of Information Policy (OIP) at the Department of Justice, the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget, agency Chief FOIA Officers, and any other officer or employee of the United States as designated by the co-chairs (OGIS and OIP Directors.) (5 U.S.C. § 552(k)(2))|
|Public Comments Page:||Public Comments Submitted for the OGIS Annual Open Meeting||Public Comments Submitted to the FOIA Advisory Committee||Public Comments Submitted to the Chief FOIA Officers Council|
|Written or Oral Statements/Comments:||OGIS shall at its annual meeting allow “interested persons to appear and present oral or written statements” 5 U.S.C. § 552(h)(6)||
Any member of the public is permitted to file a written statement with the Committee in accordance with federal regulations governing all federal advisory committees. (41 CFR § 102–3.140(c)). Any member of the public may speak to or otherwise address the Committee, (41 CFR § 102–3.140(d)), if agency guidelines permit. The FOIA Advisory Committee By-Laws, Article 4 Subsection H, state that members of the public “may at the determination of the Chairperson, offer public comment during a meeting.”
There is no requirement for the Committee to respond, either orally or in writing, to any person who submits comments although the Committee may respond at its discretion. There also is no requirement for the Committee to post submitted written comments to its website. OGIS’s posting policy states that comments “should be substantive commentary on topics pertaining to the Committee’s work.”
|“Not less frequently than annually, the Council shall hold a meeting that shall be open to the public and permit interested persons to appear and present oral and written statements to the Council.” (5 U.S.C. § 552(k)(6)(B)) There is no requirement for the Council to respond, either orally or in writing, to any person who submits comments, although the Council may respond at its discretion. There is no requirement for the Council to post submitted written comments to its website (although OGIS has done so in the past).|